Steelers put transition tag on linebacker

PITTSBURGH – The Pittsburgh Steelers have designated linebacker Jason Worilds as the team’s transition player for 2014.

Worilds was set to become a free agent next week, but now the Steelers will have five days to match any offer he receives. Free agency begins March 11.

The transition tag for linebackers is $9.754 million.

Worilds was drafted in the second round (52nd overall) in 2010 out of Virginia Tech. He’s started 21 of 57 regular-season games in which he’s played and has 121 tackles (90 solo), 18 sacks and three forced fumbles. Last season he set career highs in starts (11), tackles (54), sacks (8) and forced fumbles (2).

Pittsburgh is nearly $6 million over the salary cap of $133 million that goes into effect next week.

49ers ink Bolden

SAN FRANCISCO – While chatter has swirled about Jim Harbaugh’s future with the 49ers in recent weeks, wide receiver Anquan Boldin has secured his status in San Francisco – and even credited the coach for his decision to come back.

The franchise gave him a few million other reasons, too.

The 49ers signed Boldin to a two-year, $12 million contract with $9 million guaranteed Monday, keeping quarterback Colin Kaepernick’s top option from last season and one of Harbaugh’s favorites from hitting free agency.

“He’s a guy I had a real good relationship with,” Boldin said about Harbaugh on a conference call with reporters. “Me and him were able to talk about anything. And I just like his demeanor, the way he approaches the game. He’s a guy that wants to win. I’m the exact same way. So I think we mesh pretty good.”

Boldin, who was set to become a free agent next week, led San Francisco with 85 catches for 1,179 yards to go with seven touchdowns last season. He was traded from John Harbaugh’s Ravens to the 49ers in the offseason for a sixth-round pick after helping Baltimore win the Super Bowl.

While the salary cap strapped Ravens failed to make the playoffs, the 49ers finished 12-4 during the regular season – in part because Boldin filled the void created by an offseason torn right Achilles tendon that sidelined Michael Crabtree for the first 11 games. Boldin’s performances earned him the Bill Walsh Award, given to the team MVP by the coaches.


n Cleveland placed its transition tag on free-agent Pro Bowl center Alex Mack on Monday, locking him into a one-year, $10.039 million contract.

n The NFL has formally designated New Orleans’ Jimmy Graham as a tight end for the purposes of his franchise tag value, which is now set at $7.05 million next season unless Graham and the Saints subsequently agree on a long-term deal.

n Pro Bowl cornerback Brent Grimes cashed in Monday on his career comeback with the Miami Dolphins. Grimes signed a $32 million, four-year contract to remain with Miami. The deal, which includes $16 million guaranteed, rewards Grimes for his recovery from an Achilles tendon injury that forced him to miss almost all of the 2012 season.

n As expected, Peyton Manning passed the exam on his surgically repaired neck that was required by his contract with the Broncos that will pay him $20 million next season, according to a person with knowledge of the results.

n The Washington Redskins placed a franchise tag on three-time Pro Bowl outside linebacker Brian Orakpo on Monday, all but ensuring he will remain with the team next season.

n Bills general manager Doug Whaley is done playing franchise tag with safety Jairus Byrd. After spending much of the past year trying to negotiate a long-term contract, Whaley preferred risking the loss of Byrd in free agency rather than applying the one-year tag on the three-time Pro Bowler for a second consecutive season.

n The Tennessee Titans have agreed to a multiyear contract with safety Bernard Pollard that keeps their top tackler off the free-agent market.